By Frank Hampson and various (Titan Books)
The concluding volume of Dan Dare’s adventures on the ringed planet, or more accurately on its inhabited moons, opens with the crew allying with the natives on Titan, attempting to throw off the yoke of the overlords of Saturn. The exploratory mission has discovered life on all the moons, enslaved to these rulers who have also subverted the science officer, Blasco, who has accepted their offer to rule Earth as their vassal. Our intrepid heroes must not only liberate these subjugate races but save their home-world too!
These strips first ran in the weekly Eagle comic from October 1953 to May 1954, and cemented the rise of this new heroic icon in the hearts and minds of British children and their parents. All concerned must have seen the echoes of the recently concluded War in the liberation of alien cultures and especially the scenes of Earth “Blitzkrieged” by robot-bombs as tense Space Fleet personnel scrambled squadrons from Fighter Command map-rooms. The colourful, compelling, cosmic drama seamlessly blended thrills, wonder and national optimism to create groundbreaking, unforgettable fiction.
Rounding out this magnificent comic reading experience are two short complete tales ‘Operation Triceratops’ and ‘The Planulid’, whilst this volume’s text section features an article by Steve Holland on the science of the series plus a fascinating “sketchbook” page illuminating how Frank Hampson prepared images for his burgeoning art-team to finish.
These thrill-a-minute stories rank alongside the greatest of our children’s fictions. The standard of art and story that was typical of Dan Dare has seldom been equalled, never surpassed and nothing has ever beaten it for longevity, vitality and sheer unwavering quality. They are worthy shelf-mates for the likes of Ivanhoe, The Narnia Chronicles, The Once and Future King or indeed any adventure story that makes it onto the National Curriculum Reading List. Buy them all and then start badgering your Local Education Authority to do the same.
© 2005 Dan Dare Corporation, Ltd. All Rights Reserved.